More data to be created in 2019 than in history of the internet

28 May 2015

Image of Earth at night via NASA

The internet is about to get a whole lot more crowded, with new estimates from Cisco predicting that two zettabytes of data will be generated in just one year by 2019, a new record.

The estimates were part of Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, which looks at how the rate of data creation and internet usage expands year-upon-year and, from this year’s estimates, the amount of growth between 2014 and 2019 will be unprecedented.

By 2019, global IP Traffic will reach the dizzying heights of 168 exabytes per month, which would mark a triple increase on the 59.9 exabytes that was reached last year.

If this were to prove true, the amount of data generated in 2019 will be effectively larger than almost the entire history of the internet, at least from 1984 to 2013.

The obvious reason being that more and more devices are now entering the market, and will continue to do so, with previously ‘dumb’ devices being given their own brains as part of the internet of things (IoT) revolution.

Like devices, the number of internet users is also expected to increase, with 2014’s estimate of 2.8bn internet users expected to increase to 3.9bn users by 2019, equating to just over half of the world’s population.

Just recently, one of the founders of the internet, Vint Cerf, warned of the slow uptake of IPv6, the most up-to-date version for IP addresses, which if not addressed would overwhelm our ability to connect to it.

However, Cisco sees more optimism, with expectations that 41pc of the world will be connected to iPv6-ready devices by 2019.

Can’t get your head around the scale of a zettabyte? Then check out this Cisco infographic previously posted on

Cisco Zettabyte infographic

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic